Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Fans cry foul about tennis player's mocking of Serena Williams

I don't think Caroline Wozniacki's clowning of black female tennis champion Serena Williams by using towels to pad her backside and chest constitutes racism. Here's why.

Fans cry foul about tennis player’s mocking of Serena Williams

With towels as padding, Caroline Wozniacki played one point of a recent match "as" Serena Williams.
With towels as padding, Caroline Wozniacki played one point of a recent match "as" Serena Williams.

Caroline Wozniacki wishes she had booty like tennis rival  Serena Williams.

That said, I don’t think Wozniacki’s clowning of the black female tennis champion by using towels to pad her backside and chest constitutes racism.

What Wozniacki did to her so-called friend was tacky and classless.  The goofball thought she was being funny but a whole lot of folks, particularly African Americans, hollered foul.  

But racist? That’s a heavy charge and one I don’t throw around without evidence that someone set out to slur someone because of their racial background. Booties and bustlines are grey areas because the last I checked, black women don’t have a monopoly on curves.

I’m sure Wozniacki, who was in Brazil to take on Maria Sharapova, had no idea of the controversy she was about to set off when she walked onto a court mocking the body of one of the greatest female tennis stars of all time.

Here’s the problem: Black women’s curves can be a sensitive subject because they’ve been viewed askance for so long.

It’s as if Wozinaki was calling Williams a Hottentot Venus.
 
During the 1800s, Sarah "Saartjie" Baartman, who was from Africa, was put in a cage and paraded around Europe semi-naked like a freak of nature all because of her prodigious backside, the size of her genitalia and her huge breasts. To this day, The Hottentot Venus, as she was called, is a symbol of all that’s gone wrong in terms of the degradation of black female sexuality. Oh, and what was her crime? Not conforming to the norm or European standards as to what was considered feminine.

Williams, with her ample curves and heavily, muscled limbs, also doesn’t conform to stereotypical notions of what’s feminine. In many ways, in terms of her appearance, she’s the opposite of the lean, lithe, white, female tennis star.

So far, Williams, who won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympic gold medal this year alone, hasn’t responded to Wozniacki’s tasteless on court performance. Something tells me she won’t. Williams is probably saving that for the next she meets up with Wozniacki. That would be a matchup I’d like to be courtside to watch.

Jenice Armstrong Daily News Columnist
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Jenice Armstrong Daily News Columnist
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